Charruan languages

The Charruan languages are a present group of languages once spoken in Uruguay and the Argentine province of Entre Ríos. In 2005 a semi-speaker of Chaná language was found.[2] And have been made efforts at least from 90's decade, for revitalization of the Charrua Language.[3]

Four languages are considered to definitively belong to the Charruan language family, basically Chañá (Lanték), Nbeuá, Charrúa and Guenoa.[4]

  • Chaná
    • Lanték YAÑÁ (proper name of Chaná language)
    • Yañá NBEUÁ (the wrongly named "Mbeguá", "Beguá", "Chaná-Beguá", etc.)
    • Yañá NTIMPÚC (the wrongly named "Timbúes", "Chaná TImbúes", "Timbó", "Chaná timbó", etc.)
  • Charrúa
  • Güenoa

A number of unattested languages are also presumed to belong to the Charruan family:[4]

EthnicityCharrúa people
Uruguay and Entre Ríos Province, Argentina
Linguistic classificationLule–VilelaMataco–Guaicuru
  • Charruan

    Yañá NBEUÁ
    Yañá NTIMPÚC

Pre-contact distribution of the Charruan languages

Vocabulary Comparison

The Charruan languages are poorly attested. However, sufficient vocabulary has been gathered for the languages to be compared:[4][5]

English Charrua Chaná Güenoa
me m' mi-tí hum
you m' mutí /em/ baté m
we rampti/ am-ptí rambuí
eye i-hou ocál
ear i-mau / i-man timó
mouth ej hek / obá
hand guar nam
foot / toe atit eté
water hué atá
sun dioi
dog lohán agó
white huok
one u-gil / ngui yut
two sam usan / amá
three detí / datit detit / heít detit
know sepé seker
good / nice bilú oblí / oblé
brother/sister inchalá nchalá
friend huamá uamá
why? / how? retám retanle*
who? ua-reté
past (suf.) ndau / nden edam

Genetic relations

Jorge Suárez includes Charruan with Guaicuruan in a hypothetical Waikuru-Charrúa stock. Morris Swadesh includes Charruan along with Guaicuruan, Matacoan, and Mascoyan within his Macro-Mapuche stock. Both proposals appear to be obsolete.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Charruan". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ La Nación, "Investigan los orígenes de una extraña lengua indígena" 2005/July/01
  3. ^ "Derechos de afrodescendientes, indígenas y migrantes se debatirán en Congreso del FA - Diario La República". Diario La República (in Spanish). 2018-07-07. Retrieved 2018-12-03.

    "Tenemos Argentina que en este aspecto están más adelantados, allí se descubrió un hablante de la lengua Chaná, que es un dialecto de la misma familia lingüística del Charrúa. Y el gobierno de la provincia de Entre Ríos editó un diccionario sobre esta lengua, iniciaron una serie de talleres en las escuelas con este anciano hablante del Chaná. Allí hay una política pública.
  4. ^ a b c Loukotka, Čestmír (1968), Classification of South American Indian Languages, Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center
  5. ^ This comparison table is a revision by Br. José Damián Torko Gómez, base on the J.C. Sábat Pébet and J.J. Figueira compilation of all terms known of the "uruguayan" aboriginal languages.- Source:ín-histórico-nº-120---123---año-1969.pdf
Balomar language

Balomar is an undescribed, extinct language, formerly spoken in the Province of Entre Ríos, Argentina.

Chaná language

The Chaná language (autoglossonym: Lanték, that means "speak" or "language"; and this, from lan, "tongue" and tek, a comunicational suffix) is one of the charruan languages that was spoken by the Chaná People-Nation, in some regions of the actual Argentina and Uruguay, along the Uruguay and Paraná Rivers, even on margins of the actually named Río de la Plata. It was spoken by the chanás from pre-Columbian times, in the vast region that today is between Entre Ríos Province, Argentina and Uruguay, all along the rivers Uruguay y Paraná Guazú. According to the oral memory narratives taken on recent findings, they would have inhabited in very ancient times, including territories around the current brazilian margin of the Uruguay River. This "north", from which they would have migrated, both along the Uruguay as along the Paraná rivers, on the one hand from the outfall of the Iguazú River and on the other from the Paraguay River, in vicinities of the current location of the Asunción City.UNESCO recognizes it as a living language, but "extremely endangered", because it has only one native speaker alive. The Chamber of Deputies of the Entre Ríos Province recognized the necesity for its preservation and governmental protection.


The Charrúa are an Amerindian, Indigenous People or Indigenous Nation of the Southern Cone in present-day Uruguay and the adjacent areas in Argentina (Entre Ríos) and Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul). They were a semi-nomadic people who sustained themselves mainly through hunting and gathering. Since resources were not permanent in every region, they would constantly be on the move. Rain, drought, and other environmental factors determined their movement. For this reason they are often called "nomadas estacionales"; which means seasonal nomads.

Charrúa language

Charrúa is an extinct Charruan language historically spoken by the Charrúa people in southern Uruguay.

Güenoa language

Güenoa is an extinct Charruan language once spoken in Uruguay and Argentina.

List of indigenous languages in Argentina

This is a list of Indigenous languages that are or were spoken in the present territory of Argentina.

Although the official language of Argentina is Spanish, several Indigenous languages are in use. Most are spoken only within their respective indigenous communities, some with very few remaining speakers. Others, especially Aymara, Quechua (South Bolivian Quechua and Santiago del Estero Quichua), Toba (Qom) and Guaraní (Western Argentine Guaraní, Paraguayan Guaraní, Mbyá Guaraní), are alive and in common use in specific regions. Finally, some such as Abipón and Yaghan, are now completely extinct. Since 2004 the Guaraní language is official, together with Spanish, in the northeastern Corrientes Province.

Aboriginal languages in Argentina

|____ Living

| |____ Tupi–Guaraní family

| | |_Guaraní subfamily

| | |___ Subgroup I

| | |___ Paraguayan Guaraní

| | |___ Western Guaraní (Avá Guaraní or "chiriguano")

| | |___ Mbyá Guaraní

| | |___ Chiripá

| | |___ Kaiwá [+]

| | |___ Tapieté

| |____ Guaycuruan family

| | |___ Qom group

| | |___ Mocoví

| | |___ Pilagá

| | |___ Toba

| |____ Mataguayo ("mataco") family

| | |____Wichí group ("mataco")

| | | |___ Nocten (Oktenay)

| | | |___ Güisnay (Wenhayéy)

| | | |___ Vejoz (Wehwos)

| | |____Nivaklé group ("chulupí")

| | | |___ Forest Nivaklé (Yita'a lhavós)

| | | |___ River Nivaklé (Chishamne and Shichaam lhavos)

| | |____Chorote group

| | |___ Jo'wuwa or Iyo'wujwa (Manjui)

| | |___ Yofwaja or Iyojwa'ja (Eklenjui)

| |____ Quechua family

| | |____Quechua II C

| | |___ Southern Bolivian (Kolla)

| | |___ Santiago del Estero Quichua

| |____ Araucanian family

| | |_____________ Mapudungun (Mapuche)

| |____ Isolated and unclassified

| |_____________ Aymara

| |_____________ Yagan, Yámana or Háusi-kúta

|____________ Endangered or nearly extinct

| |____ Lule–Vilela family

| | |_____ Vilela [*]

| |____ Isolated and unclassified

| |_____ Gennaken ("Puelche")

|___ Extinct (an incomplete list)

|____ Arawakan family

| |_____ Chané

|____ Charruan (?)

| |_____ Güenoa

| |_____ Chaná (?)

|____ Guaicuruan family

| |_____ Abipón

| |_____ Mbayá

| |_____ Payaguá

| |_____ Mbeguá (?)

|____ Lule–Vilela family

| |_____ Lule

|____ Chon family

| |_____ Manek'enk or Haush

| |_____ Teushen |

| |_____ Aönikën ("Tehuelche")

| |_____ Śelknam ("Ona")

|____ Isolated and unclassified

|___ Huarpe group

| |___ Allentiac or Alyentiyak

| |___ Millcayac or Milykayak

|_____ Toconoté

|_____ Omaguaca

|_____ Cacán (Diaguita-Calchaquí)

|_____ Kunza, or Likanantaí (Atacameño)

|_____ Henia-camiare or "Comechingon"

|_____ Sanavirón

|_____ Het

[+] Dubious. Fabre states (with convincing arguments) that no Kaiwá live in Argentina.

[*] Some authors give this languages as extinct.

(?) Tentative classification

List of language families

The following is a list of language families. It also includes language isolates, unclassified languages and other types.

and Asia
New Guinea
and the Pacific
See also

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